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tv   Arts.21  Deutsche Welle  July 28, 2019 7:02am-7:31am CEST

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we feel the fear of everybody and the worries and and on the day that we left of course my parents couldn't tell us that we were fleeing. we never thought we would survive the world trip. we went to montreal to meet kim 20 and despite the chilly weather we couldn't have wished for a woman welcome. to the russia has been living in canada for over 40
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years now and much you claim to draw on her own experiences and memories. you were 10 when your family fled saigon. then with member anything what happened in saigon was how was your life that when i left i was all that enough to remember and then all that not all the enough to understand everything so when you sit down to write you can you have the freedom to reinvent you know the stories between the little dots that you have of the memories but this saw visit images and as children i think you have a very tunnel vision of things right and so i would smell the kitchen and the women how they would dress have the moved around and then i also have images of those tanks coming into town we only feel. we'll the fear of everybody and the worries
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and and on the day that we fled of course my parents couldn't tell us that we were fleeing right but the tension was so dance that you can you know you know without anybody say anything and to have certainly all of the adults in the house to be warmer you know to whisper they never talk anymore. came to his childhood in saigon ended in 1975 when south vietnam fell to the communist north after a 20 year war the home city was renamed the main city. the 1500000 people who fled across the south china sea were dubbed the boat people hundreds of thousands died the despair that drove the mom board and the survivors relief a hard to imagine. we never thought we would survive the boat trip so already when we arrived in malaysia. it was a bonus you know
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a 2nd chance to life and as we got off the boat and the boat broke up 50 minutes after we got off so when you standing on the beach and you see that boat break up. you have no more complaint if anything goes after that. kim and her family lived in a refugee camp in malaysia until her parents secured entry to canada the start of a new life today she's one of the country's most celebrated also has 3 best selling novels have been translated into 25 languages. it must have been a clash of cultures when you came to canada what was your most difficult challenge we have arrived not from our home we arrive from a refitted camp so basically you we became subhuman you know we lived in places that were not places and under citizenship we were statelets right
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and so you we arrived here and we couldn't compare with anything else we compare with 0 so anything after 0 was cricket and the beauty was that we arrived in a small city where my impression was the whole city was there waiting for us someone picked me up and held me in their arms or his arms or her arms but everybody was being held and that was the 1st moment where we we came to me it was not 2 years later with the paperwork and all that we became canadian on that 1st moment because you form one of you fall in love with these people who didn't hesitate to pick up a dirty refugee and i mean dirty you know we had infection everywhere we had why isn't our hair and and even today you know i wonder if i would pick up myself when i was 10 when i. arrived here can trace family had been affluent and
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well educated her parents valued tradition as refugees they lost everything. going to canada was a decline for your parents for your father was a philosopher professor and both of your parents worked in factories in kenya where did save see their stay the start of their new life in canada as a would in richmond or as a loss because my parents could already speak french and english so they couldn't follow courses in have a salary from the government for learning their language the hotel where we were we landed where we stay the rector. gave him a job to clean the stairs the the emergency stairs meaning he didn't leave anybody he created this job for my dad and i still remember my dad gathering all of us in the room and he said and he started a sentence by saying we're small to the director he could have just given that
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money but he wanted to create a job so that that 1st job would be to another job and also to give us back our dignity and so giving us a very difficult gesture and he knew exactly how to give but with dignity you know it not only a means of living in terms of money but dignity and dignity is everything from their own wants and you you know you have that back then you really consider as a full human person. you can do anything. so how can we complain. kim and her 2 brothers didn't just have to learn english and french upon arriving in quebec i had to learn how to trust again. i didn't have a voice you know vietnam felt really into silence after the end. the war in 75
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you could no longer speak freely or as much as possible to not eat so that you don't make your the people around you bad information because we were all forced to the nouns and the jesters accents which were considered to be anti-revolutionary are anti cultural as you know you know in a communist context and so as much as possible that you don't you no longer speak you no longer you try not to hear it try not to see and so that's how i lived it to me years after the end of the war and before that because i was such a shy kid i didn't speak at all or of very very little all i did was crying i was very good at crying canada and our specify quebec because we arrived here and go back and that's why friends is now my 2nd mother tongue i would say. gave me
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a voice a voice that i didn't know that i had and that i was now looking for. with this voice came to become an author eventually her 1st book route was published in french in 2009 the novel is full of memories of her childhood in saigon of the city smells and food of being forced to flee and the refugee camp the language remains however even when dealing with despair. if a choreographer had been underneath the plastic sheet on a rainy day or night he would certainly have reproduced the same $25.00 people shortened to all on their feast each holding a tin can to collect the water that dripped off the roof sometimes in torrents sometimes drop by drop if the musician had been there he would have heard the orchestration of all that moved a striking the sides of the tunes if a filmmaker had been there he would have captured the beauty. of the silent and
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spontaneous complicity between wretched people but there was only us standing on a floor that was slowly sinking into the claim. to it. finally the family was permitted to immigrate to canada a new life between 2 cultures came to a 2nd book man was published in 2013 it tells the story of a woman from viet nam who meets her great love in canada similar to the author herself who has 2 children with her canadian husband next novel is also somewhat autobiographical published in 2016 its protagonist is a vietnamese woman living in exile in canada who gets relocated to hanoi for work. i had the chance to go back to work as a lawyer i was sent to vietnam on a project and that that's when i had the chance to meet vietnam again you know to learn to know about vietnam as an adult and more more than that not only as an
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adult but as a comedian but 100 noise was not south vietnam it was enemy's land yes it was a different country. to me hanoi words totally unknown and i think you know i would have adopted at that myself better in germany then in hanoi simply because i thought i knew one or it was germany i accept but i don't know anything or going to learn the language i'm going to learn the culture was had i went in as of yet the means is totally me stabilized because it was not the same vietnam that i had in mind but i have discovered you know. so many stories that all of us there were no winners and we were all victims of a war for from one side or the other and that's why today. i would never call
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the north of vietnam as the enemy land which are as victims you know of the same war standing on both sides of the fences but it's the same it's the same suffering it was the same sadness it was the same was nobody won in a war. i don't think so. millions died in that war which also drove over one and a half 1000000 people to flee their home country 60000 vietnamese went to canada in the 1970 s. alone where they received a warm welcome. and when in 2015 the world was asked to grant asylum to syrians canada once again opened its doors prime minister justin trudeau even came to greet the 1st syrian refugees but there isn't a phobia in canada to jim toohey hopes her own story could help counter anti immigrant sentiment that when you came to canada you're received a warm welcome this what about today's canada it's not recess you know when we left
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vietnam the international community community was waiting for us. that everybody was opening their arms in you know taking us in today is not the same. it's not the same situation and that's why i just want to remind all of us that we have already been so generous and so good we have this and that we are capable of this goodness we can be great which is forget sometimes. canada's hospitality it's breathtaking scenery can make us forget the darkest chapters of this country's history it's banning of the cultural practices and languages of its indigenous peoples the so-called 1st nations even in the 1990 s. it was still being relocated repressed and disenfranchised they continue to suffer the economic and psychological consequences to this day only now is the state. king responsibility for those terrible acts.
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we always forget that they were here before all of us but in books images very often we have one image or one portrait of the typical can but today canada and specially canada is such a new country and they have been so many many layers of of migration of people coming in. so yeah i think we are more. color multicultural multi you know we had that kind of country we lived together in order to live well together we need to know each other before we can love each other right so if we don't know the story of our 1st nations then we would never be able to connect and live together and saw their stories have to be told we
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asked canadians need to know it's our responsibility to know like a family we need to know our brothers and sisters and stories and lives and their love break up so and so forth so i think thought for a nation is is so important to have conversation and as you know as soon as we have the communication is broken and that's where misunderstanding start and war you know and hatred right so we need to have this conversation. a conciliatory attitude means that came to its influence extends far beyond the literary world and she doesn't shy away from to do so one of her sons has autism the author says he has changed her perception and her writing. and i always think that i'm 10 years late because i arrived here at when i was 10 so i'm always running to catch up the 10 years but i have lost that i'm late on every. rationally and normal
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ok you know at the same pace than everybody but i don't know instinctively i am always running and my son who's artistic cannot go with that pace he goes at his own wisdom and he forces me to slow down like he does you know like at his speed and so for him when he walks into a room it takes him time to examine the room and because of that i also have to stop and examine the room to understand why he prefers one room to the to the other is of the right is it the shape of the lamps is it the number of people is of the the texture of the the so far or you know i have to analyze all of the senses and because of him at the come since oriel i become aware of all the little details that i would have never seen if i was just me i would just go into the whoop and
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there they are and then me and would not have even seen that there was a sigh of kim to return challenges into opportunities optimism has helped to succeed and it seems both literary critics and the public are impressed in 2018 she was shortlisted for the alternative nobel literature prize. there are only a handful of canadian writers known worldwide and this man will walk with edward. michel and that may be you where where do you see yourself in canadian literature i don't know. i i still don't see myself as a writer because a writer has to be. mr they they think more you know and i don't think so what i only enjoy what you know what i am the way. to me it's such a privilege to sit down and find the right. ward that's it i can spend
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a whole day just to try to find one word and that would be an accomplishment for me and so i'm not i don't know all right or has to be like this you know i don't know and by. him too he isn't troubled by what others think of her she enjoys trying out new things she's been a lawyer and a restaurant and become a bestselling novelist she's even written a cookbook which she also presented in berlin with a cooking class. with you this is great cuisine just roasting flour. well there was more than roasted flour that would be nice style pork meatballs. and the air was thick with the smell of spices roasted nuts and kim to raise delicious homemade sources. she didn't just make it look easy it really was easy and the results were delicious came to
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a has received several awards for her cookbook which also contains stories from her family life in class 2 she showed how cooking and eating can bring people together there was chatter and laughter and occasional explanations from kim to a didn't amaze food also plays a large role in her novels where it's used to seduce to comfort and to celebrate she says the vietnamese people eating is about much more than sustenance it's an attitude to life as she learned in her early childhood in saigon. my cousin's parents would base their choice of what to buy on the color of a fruit or the perfume of a spice or simply according to the whim of the moment the food they brought home was always surrounded by a festive aura a sense of decadence and thrill they didn't fresh over the empty rice jar in the kitchen or the palms we were supposed to learn by heart they just wanted us to stuff ourselves on mangoes to bite into fruition make the juice. spanish moss
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spinning around and around like tops to the music of the dolls town michel sardou the beatles or cat stevens. you write that you like your family you were lying on foot to express your feelings what do you cook for french was really suffering and what do you cook when you're happy oh i think they say. it's the fresh rolls because in vietnamese food is really. particular for its. aromas we eat a lot of fresh herbs just really yeah you don't cook before they just put on the table and for the fresh rolls you put the leaves in the role you have maybe 6 or 7 times different kinds in there so every bite is different the 1st the 1st by the 1st before him perfume that you you have is at the level of the lips right and then
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when you chew you have a different cocktail and when you swallow you have a whole opening up and everybody is different because you can never have this the same intensity in each leaf and the same amount of leaves and now so each eye is a new experience right so at the end it's like it's almost like a garden in your mouth so if you sat that will make you happy and if you're happy then you it's brought to you flow through. always in. death canadian food and have a similar effect not yes yes i know but you laugh but it's called but they hear more and there's a layer of men's mince being corn and mashed potatoes it seems very simple but it's all comforting it's something i hear a lot of it over and over. and it's quite heavy because it was invented for the
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people who work on the railroad when you eat that you know you stay strong for a long time so i don't need that much strength from food. but when i eat but this you know it's always like a huge piece i can never stop. him to eat is very much at home in canada but vietnam is also an integral part of. if you ask me if i was a comedian all of the music i would say i'm both i don't have to choose in the same soco you know 30 percent of your me 70 no i'm 100 percent on both especially because i would say i've even too much cheese and bacon now i'm big enough to sit on 2 chairs and not at the crack of the chairs you know and so i would say that i understand the immigrant. poster of our position because i have been one
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but i've also become a thoroughly to me when you know i i don't know i consider myself a very often i forget that you can tell that i am not a white person that. readings of your books of people politically about your past about your experiences as a refugee does your success happy to raise awareness about a reality for we have a referee trees i hope i hope i have had the chance to be invited to many events where i speak and and i'm always you know happy when there's one person in the room who would come up to me and say you've changed my view on on the refrigerator you know on how we see with fiji's and that's the whole purpose you know of yeah of me speaking because very you know when do you give a microphone to a rift. never very rarely or when we talk about immigrants or refrigerate we talk
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as a about them as a group there's no story there's no name there's no age there's nothing right there's one history to each of them it's like a big group and as a human person if you know as our brain we cannot relate to a whole group we have to relate to one person at a time so i guess i am that person that you know who has the microphone and so i try to speak for all of. i hope that i was there with you know the job fairly well. so yeah i try to take responsibility basically of this privilege to have a chip you know where i can speak about that experience the life insight on a flight from viet nam her marriage to a canadian came to his personal experiences services basis for characters in all 3
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of her novels can you imagine to write a novel that has no connection to your personal life. right now i can't i have so much to say still about the people that i've met and really my only objective when i write is to share what i find beautiful and this human is be you know around me and so i don't even have enough time to write about the things i know so. maybe once the barrier i finished that than our will imagine you know science science fiction on some different planets but right now just the people around me are already so fascinating and amazing i don't need to go anywhere really and so maybe that's why it's so close to me you've changed your profession so often is there any challenge you still want to achieve i
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hope i hope there are more out there and there are many things i haven't done i'm so yes absolutely i just last friday i've just accepted. a mandate that was way beyond my you know abilities and it was outside of my comfort zone but i accepted it for that very reason that i would learn something so absolutely this was much i would love to be an astronaut. but i think i'm too old. i don't know. our model i think i'm too short i'll never get to be a model. thank you very much it wasn't my place i was a bit better at it but. it seems unlikely that kinch we will run out of material any time soon and through his storytelling she will continue to act as a voice for others.
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